Zimbabwe should stop evicting urban poor-UN report
Fri Jul 22, 2005 6:22 AM BST
By Evelyn Leopold
(Reuters) - A crucial U.N. report, sharply criticizes the Zimbabwean
government for bulldozing urban slums and insists it should stop razing the
shantytowns, according to two U.N. envoys who have seen the lengthy document
to be released on Friday.
The report, commissioned by Secretary-General
Kofi Annan, breaks the relative silence in the United Nations over President
Robert Mugabe's policy of evicting hundreds of thousands of people. Western
nations have unsuccessfully tried to put the issue on the U.N. Security
Tanzanian Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, the executive
director of the Nairobi-based U.N.-Habitat, who wrote the report, says more
than 2 million people in one way or another have been affected by the
Human rights groups, the Commonwealth, the European Union,
Britain and the United States have condemned the action, which has pushed
the poor out of the cities in the depth of the southern Hemisphere
The government has dismissed the accusations and says the
crackdown, officially dubbed "Operation Restore Order", was intended to
fight black market trading and other lawlessness in unplanned communities
which had sprung up around the country.
But Tibaijuka's report says
that regardless of the motive, the end result of action was ill-conceived,
inhumane and put an additional economic burden on the southern African
nation, where more than 70 percent of the population is unemployed and
foreign currency, food and fuel are in short supply.
HARARE YET TO
The Zimbabwe government was given the report on Wednesday and has
48 hours to respond but it has made no comment so far.
Tanzanian professor with a doctorate in agricultural economics, was sent to
Zimbabwe by Annan and spent two weeks touring the country, leaving on July
9. She called on the government to stop the demolitions.
Mugabe, 81 and
in power since independence from Britain in 1980, says Zimbabwe is being
punished by opponents of his land reform program in which the government
seized white-owned farms to give to landless blacks.
opposition contends the campaign is aimed at breaking up its strongholds
among the urban poor and forcing them into rural areas where they can be
more easily controlled by chiefs sympathetic to the government.
report is to be made public to all U.N. members on Friday rather than to the
Security Council alone. But Western diplomats will attempt to get Tibaijuka
to brief the council in an effort to get the issue on the agenda.
members of the council as well as Russia and China have been against drawing
attention to the Zimbabwe crisis, arguing that it was an internal issue
rather than one that affected international peace and security, council
But Annan, who has issued a statement of concern about
Zimbabwe, is expected to use the report to highlight the crisis and issue
his own statement on Friday, a U.N. official said.
Council members also want to invite Louise Arbour, the U.N. High
Commissioner for Human Rights, to address the 15-member body and mention
Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan and other issues not on the agenda. But a U.N. official
said other delegations will insist she stick to matters before the
UN Report: Zimbabwe Slum Destruction Violates International
UNITED NATIONS (AP)--A U.N. report condemned the Zimbabwe
government for destroying urban slums in a "disastrous venture" that has
left 700,000 people without homes or jobs, and demanded that those
responsible be punished, according to excerpts.
The report, to be
released Friday morning, said a further 2.4 million people have been
affected in varying degrees by the countrywide campaign in which thousands
of shantytowns, ramshackle markets and makeshift homes have been
Operation Murambatsvina, or Drive Out Trash, has been
"carried out in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference
to human suffering," said the report's executive summary, obtained late
Thursday by The Associated Press.
The report, using language
unusually harsh for the United Nations, called for the government to stop
the destruction immediately. It said the operation clearly violated
It did not assign blame for the destruction, saying
only that it was launched on the advice of a few people who were not
identified. Yet, it suggests that the act might qualify as a crime against
humanity and urged Zimbabwe to prosecute those responsible.
Robert Mugabe's government has defended the operation as an urban cleanup
drive, and has promised to help the displaced rebuild. Zimbabwe's opposition
says it is aimed at breaking up its strongholds among the urban poor and
forcing them into rural areas where they can be more easily controlled by
chiefs sympathetic to the government.
But the report said that even if
the operation is an urban cleanup drive, the campaign - which some have
called Operation Restore Order - has been a "crash" operation that will take
years for Zimbabwe to recover from.
"Even if motivated by a desire to
ensure a semblance of order in the chaotic manifestations of rapid
urbanization and rising poverty characteristic of African cities,
nonetheless Operation Restore Order turned out to be a disastrous venture,"
the report said.
On Wednesday, police raided nine churches in Zimbabwe's
second-largest city of Bulawayo, rounding up people sheltering there since
their homes were destroyed. Between 50 and 100 people were arrested at each,
said the Rev. Kevin Thompson of the city's Presbyterian Church.
was pretty brutal and horrific," he said. "They had elderly folk, and they
were piling them onto vehicles; they were frog-marching children ... who had
been asleep, and Bulawayo is very cold at the moment."
While not outright
demanding an independent inquiry, the report suggests that such a probe
could help determine if there was criminal negligence leading to any deaths.
The Zimbabwe government was given the final report on Wednesday but has made
no public comment so far.
Zimbabwe has pledged $325 million to provide
1.2 million houses or building plots by 2008 but the report said economists
have expressed doubt that the government can afford such a project at a time
when Zimbabwe is wracked by triple-digit inflation and in the throes of a
severe food crisis.
The report was compiled by U.N. Secretary-General
Kofi Annan's special envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, who spent two weeks in Zimbabwe
studying the effects of the campaign. She delivered the report to Annan
earlier this week.
Tibaijuka's report said the clearance campaign was
based on a set of colonial- era laws and policies "that were used as a tool
of segregation and social exclusion."
"There is an urgent need to
suspend these outdated laws and to review them within the briefest time
possible" to make sure the humanitarian response doesn't fade and people are
given new homes and livelihoods, she said.
"The humanitarian consequences
of Operation Restore Order are enormous," she said. "There is an immediate
need for the government of Zimbabwe to recognize the virtual state of
emergency that has resulted, and to allow unhindered access by the
international and humanitarian community to assist those that have been
Tibaijuka said Zimbabwe needs shelter, food, health services,
and other essential goods.
Tibaijuka, the Tanzanian head of
Nairobi-based U.N. Habitat which deals with the plight of cities, has said
she would dispatch an officer to help Zimbabwe meet its housing needs. In
the report, she called for a massive international humanitarian operation to
help the masses of poor people left without housing or jobs.
nations on the 15-member Security Council have so far kept the crisis in
Zimbabwe off the council's agenda. But several U.N. diplomats said they are
hoping to get Tibaijuka to brief members on the report next week under their
agenda item of "other matters."
Friday, July 22, 2005. 12:11pm (AEST) Australia would
back Mugabe indictment: Costello The Federal Government is likely to support
any moves by the UN to indict the President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe for
crimes against humanity.
The Treasurer Peter Costello has told the ABC's
Lateline program that Australia is already making efforts to restore human
rights in the African nation, such as supporting the expulsion of Zimbabwe
from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Mr Costello says while
Australia is not on the United Nations Security Council, it would back moves
to indict Robert Mugabe for human rights abuses.
"We would lend our
voice to members of the Security Council to consider that," he
"Australia has been at the forefront of arguing for sanctions to
try to restore human rights in Zimbabwe."
Zimbabweans to pay for fuel in hard cash, Zimdollar devalued
again Fri 22 July 2005 HARARE - Zimbabwe will beginning September sell
fuel to motorists in hard currency in a desperate measure to end a six-year
fuel shortage that worsened in recent months, almost bringing the crisis-hit
country to a halt.
In a monetary policy statement on Thursday that
fell far short on measures to revive the comatose economy, Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono also devalued the local dollar to $17
500 per one American unit.
Previously the Zimbabwe dollar
officially traded at around $10 000 to one greenback although the illegal
but thriving foreign currency black-market paid double that amount for a
"With effect from 1 September the motoring public can access
fuel at the designated service (filling) stations, which will be announced
in due course by the Ministry of Energy and Power Development through
payment in foreign exchange, at the initial price of US$1 per litre," Gono
The central bank chief did not clarify
whether the same price will apply for both petrol and diesel. The last-ditch
move is apparently hoped to assist garage owners to raise hard cash from the
public to pay for fuel imports.
Rising international prices for
oil have exacerbated Zimbabwe's fuel crisis, itself the result of acute
foreign currency shortages that began when the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) withdrew balance-of-payments support in 1999 after disagreeing with
Harare over fiscal policy and other governance issues.
President Robert Mugabe's chaotic and often violent seizure of productive
farmland from whites only helped worsen foreign currency shortages as the
mainstay agricultural sector and particularly the tobacco sector, which is
the biggest single export earner, were disrupted.
Zimbabwe, once a
regional breadbasket, has since 2000 when Mugabe began his land seizure
programme survived on food hand outs from international agencies after farm
production fell by about 60 percent. Four million people or a quarter of the
country's population require food aid this year.
fuel, electricity, essential medical drugs, machine spare parts for
industry, other key commodities are also in critical short supply in
Zimbabwe because there is no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.
Gono announced that foreign embassies, externally funded non-governmental
organisations, other international groups, Zimbabweans living abroad and
other sellers of foreign currency would with immediate effect be paid at the
rate of $17 500 to one American dollar.
The exchange rate at the
government's foreign currency auction floors mostly used by industry and
commerce remained at around $10 000 to one US$. But this rate normally
tracks the exchange rate used for exiled Zimbabweans and economic analysts
expect it to align with the new diaspora rate within days.
desperate plea to Zimbabweans who siphoned hard cash outside the country,
Gono said such funds could be repatriated back on a "no questions asked
basis." Holders of such funds could also import whatever goods into the
country again without questions being asked, the central bank chief
He said: "In order to allow for the free inflows of free
funds which, for one reason or another, found their way into offshore
markets, the Reserve Bank is pleased to announce that the programme of
Import Tracking Control Numbers has been suspended with immediate
"Holders of free funds offshore sources are, therefore,
with immediate effect, free to bring in imports, particularly those of a
productive nature, on a no questions asked basis."
previously prosecuted people for externalising scarce hard cash. Former
finance minister Chris Kuruneri is on trial for allegedly externalising
millions of hard cash.
Gono admitted inflationary pressures were on
the upsurge saying it would be difficult to tame the inflation beast,
declared Zimbabwe's number one enemy by Mugabe. Inflation is pegged at 164.3
percent and is amongst the highest such rates in the world.
Zimbabwe earned US$877 million during the first six months of the year
compared to US$771.5 realised over the same period last year.
Loan repayments to the IMF had improved to US$9 million every quarter up
from US$1.5 million, the RBZ chief said. The Bretton Woods institution,
whose board meets next month, is expected to expel Zimbabwe over outstanding
debts of more than US$300 million.
Gono was silent on a US$1
billion loan Zimbabwe has requested from South Africa for fuel and food
imports. - ZimOnline
Harare gets 48 hours to respond to UN report Fri 22 July
NEW YORK - The United Nations (UN) has given Zimbabwe 48 hours
to respond to issues raised in a report by the world body's special envoy
who assessed Harare's controversial urban clean-up campaign earlier this
The report, compiled by UN-Habitat boss Anna Tibaijuka after
spending two weeks in Zimbabwe as UN Secretary General Koffi Annan's envoy,
was handed to Annan and Harare's UN representative, Boniface Chidyausiku, on
Wednesday this week.
In a statement yesterday the UN said: "The
report on Zimbabwe, produced by Mrs Anna Tibaijuka, the United Nations
Secretary General's Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues in Zimbabwe,
has been finalised and was sent to the Government of Zimbabwe yesterday
"The report is expected to be made public on Friday
(today) or Monday. The government will be given 48 hours to look at the
The report is expected to be devastating against Harare
for demolishing shantytowns, city backyard cottages and informal trading
kiosks, casting thousands of families onto the streets without food, water
Annan earlier this week said he was worried at the
humanitarian crisis created by the clean-up drive in what UN experts said
was a clear indication Tibaijuka's report will be scathing against
The United States, European Union, Zimbabwean and
international human rights groups have roundly condemned the clean-up
exercise as a gross violation of poor people's rights.
Non-governmental organisations say about 300 000 people have been displaced
by the campaign but the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party
puts the figure at 1.5 million people.
President Robert Mugabe has
defended the exercise as vital to smash crime and to restore the beauty of
Zimbabwe's cities and towns.
But the MDC, which is most supported
in urban areas, says the exercise is meant to punish city residents for
rejecting Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party in last March's disputed
parliamentary election. - ZimOnline
Police fire teargas as 33 demonstrators are arrested Fri 22
HARARE - Thirty-three members of a pressure group
fighting for a new and democratic constitution in Zimbabwe were arrested
yesterday for demonstrating against plans by the government to reintroduce a
About 200 members of the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) pressure group took to the streets yesterday
chanting songs and waving placards denouncing plans by President Mugabe to
reintroduce the Senate, banned more than 10 years ago.
demonstrators appeared to have taken the police by surprise as they marched
to Parliament building in Harare where they distributed fliers denouncing
what they alleged was abuse of power by Mugabe wanting to unilaterally
reintroduce the Senate.
But soon after, armed police swooped on the
protesters and fired tear smoke to disperse the group. The police arrested
33 members of the protest group who were still in custody last
Asked to comment on the demonstration, police spokesman
Oliver Mandipaka said he would not comment on an illegal
"We have no time to comment on an event which is
illegal," said Mandipaka.
Under Zimbabwe's tough security laws,
it is illegal to hold demonstrations without first seeking police approval.
But the pressure group has in the past consistently defied the
NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku, yesterday reiterated that his
organisation will not obey "unjust laws" such as the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA) which requires groups seeking to demonstrate to seek
police approval first.
"It is our duty as responsible citizens
to defy bad laws and POSA is one of such laws," he said after the
In a statement issued before yesterday's
demonstration, Madhuku denounced the Bill seeking to introduce the
"Its sole purpose is to introduce a Senate which will
accommodate Mugabe's cronies in Zanu PF. A new constitution must be made by
"It is the height of abuse of power for a government
that claims in the past five years that constitutional reform was not a
priority to turn around and fast-track self-serving constitutional
amendments," he said. - ZimOnline
current search for offshore financial injections to resuscitate its ailing
economy is not confined to South Africa alone but to Far and Middle Eastern
countries that it enjoys cordial relations with, the government has
said. Last week, Zimbabwe sent overtures to southern neighbour, South Africa
seeking a US$1 billion loan for the replenishment of dwindling fuel
supplies, food and farming inputs procurement and the resuscitation of
plummeting industrial output Information and Publicity Secretary George
Charamba was yesterday quoted in the South African press as saying
government was looking for more sources of foreign currency to thwart
concerted international efforts to stop the country from accessing loans
from international institutions. The country is currently awaiting a response
from the South African government, but a government spokesman in that
country said on Tuesday that South Africa would only come up with a decision
after cabinet and parliament had deliberated on the issue. "Any loan
agreement would have to be tabled before the cabinet and confirmed by
Parliament before it is granted," said Joel Netshitenzhe, a South African
government spokesman. However, Charamba said other countries such as
China, Malaysia and Iran had also been approached. If the loan is
granted, it is also expected to service other ballooning debts such as an
overdue US$295 million debt with the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
which was reportedly due this week. The likely delay in the processing of the
critical lifeline from South Africa could deal a major blow to the economy
as the IMF has threatened to expel Zimbabwe out of the grouping in the event
of failure to settle the arrears. Government is also currently under
pressure to end a biting fuel crisis that has plagued the economy since the
post-election period. The fuel crisis has also affected national airline, Air
Zimbabwe whose jets were forced to cancel flights this week. Sources on
Wednesday night told this newspaper that the fuel paralysis struck the
debt-ridden airline starting on Tuesday when most regional and local flights
suffered persistent delays, as Air Zimbabwe's stocks ran dry. The sources,
however, pointed out that it was highly likely that the company had failed
to procure Jet A1 due to cash constraints. They added that on Wednesday a
Harare-London Boeing 737 jet scheduled to take off from the Harare
International Airport around 8am was delayed until midday as staff waited
for fuel supplies from Feruka near Mutare.
GOVERNMENT has relaxed enforcing legislation regarding the
settling of people on unserviced stands to allow families displaced by the
clean-up operation to build temporary shelters for the time being, Local
Government minister Ignatius Chombo said yesterday. Victims of Operations
Murambatsvina/Restore Order were currently being moved from holding camps
back to their stands while standard houses are built. Chombo said this after
the inter-ministerial committee on the clean-up exercise he leads toured
Caledonia transit camp, a transitory sanctuary for displaced people on the
periphery of Harare. "All the people being moved from the transit camp and
have been allocated stands would be allowed to live at their premises for 12
months in temporary structures while they build their houses," the minister
said. "This has been facilitated by the relaxation of the Regional, Town and
Country Planning Act, so that they can stay at their stands although they
are yet to be serviced," Chombo added. Government has already started
relocating people from transit camps to various destinations including new
suburbs created under Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle. Chombo said
government would provide roofing sheets for people to construct their
temporary structures. He also said about 50 aliens had volunteered to return
to their countries of origin during the vetting process at Caledonia
Farm. "We hope to allocate 300 000 stands by the end of this year and the $1
trillion set aside under Operation Garikai would from now operate as a
revolving fund to enable people to construct their houses," he
said. Other government officials also visited Whitecliff Farm to monitor
progress in the construction of core-houses. Chombo warned that all those
who had defied government directives and gone back to Porta Farm after the
squatter settlement was destroyed in the blitz would be removed soon.
SA church leaders detained in Zimbabwe July 22 2005 at
By Peta Thornycroft, Basildon Peta &
Harare - Zimbabwe police have detained South African
and Zimbabwean church leaders trying to help thousands made homeless by
"Operation Drive-Out Trash".
In the ongoing purge of Zimbabwe's
urban poor on Thursday, armed riot police and ruling Zanu-PF youth militia
rounded up hundreds of homeless people - including infants sheltering in
churches in Bulawayo.
The harassment of the clergymen happened as
an aid agency, Action Aid International, issued a damning report on
"Operation Murambatsvina" and its impact on the poor.
KwaZulu-Natal Bishop Rubin Phillip said on Thursday that he and three other
clergymen were arrested in Bulawayo on Wednesday night and only released at
about 4am on Thursday.
Philip is part of a South African Council of
Churches delegation in Zimbabwe which announced it was launching a major
humanitarian operation with local churches and NGOs to help thousands of
Before Philip's arrest, the police and the dreaded
state spy agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation, had summoned two
senior clergymen in the eastern town of Mutare.
them on the reasons for providing "negative" reports to United Nations envoy
Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka during her two-week visit to Zimbabwe to probe the
demolitions on behalf of Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Zimbabwe's national airline has had to cancel flights on some of its
established routes, including the popular Harare-to-London route, owing to
its worst fuel shortage in years, the state-controlled Herald newspaper
reported on Thursday.
Air Zimbabwe spokesperson David Mwenga told
the Herald that some of Air Zimbabwe's flights had been suspended because of
a shortage of jet aviation fuel, but he did not specify the
An unnamed airline official, told the paper that flights to
South Africa, Britain and the Victoria Falls, "were suspended due to the
shortages of fuel". - Mercury Foreign Service
article was originally published on page 3 of The Mercury on July 22,
R6 billion will go into Mugabe's account and take 6bn
years to repay July 22, 2005
I am beyond disgust with
Robert Mugabe and his sycophantic, cruel cohorts. What has been happening in
Zimbabwe should have been stopped a very long time ago.
seen Mugabe and his evil followers plunder the riches of Zimbabwe and reduce
the lives of non- Zanu-PF members, especially, to nothing.
latest operation, driving out only MDC supporters and those who had not
voted, is the sickest, saddest, most inhumane action taken by a government
against it's people.
Clearly, this matter is not pressing enough
for President Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo and the African Union to get
Robert Mugabe out of Zimbabwe.
Oh, I must be careful to suggest
that if Mugabe be thrown out of Zimbabwe, he might just be accommodated,
courtesy of the South African taxpayer, as was that other tyrant,
Jean-Baptiste Aristide, who is currently languishing in a government
The untold misery caused to ordinary Zimbabweans over
the years by the Mugabe regime is gut-wrenching, immoral and illegal. Yet
the South African government is still considering giving that country a loan
of R6 billion, reportedly.
Don't get me wrong, I have the
utmost sympathy for the suffering people of Zimbabwe and I truly believe
that something medium- to long-term should be done to ease their immense
suffering. By all means, let relief agencies supply these poor people with
food, shelter and emergency care.
If the easing of the abject
circumstances of Zimbabweans is indeed the aim, then the AU should deploy
their relief agencies to Zimbabwe.
After all, the European
Union has relief agencies. But my hopes are not pinned on this, as it is
exactly the African Union and the failing of its African Peer Review
Mechanism, which shows up infinitely impotent in the sorry Zimbabwe
What is not going to help the Zimbabwean people at all,is
that R6bn of South African money is given to the Zimbabwean government, when
it is glaringly obvious that Mugabe is going to find a way to siphon that
money into the already-bulging private bank accounts of his avaricious wife
Grace, and that of his party faithful.
Let's not forget that
Zimbabwe won't be able to repay that loan in six billion years.
Or are the loan-givers getting sorted out in a way that isn't quite clear to
us ordinary tax-payers?
The complete lack of action against the
tyrant Mugabe leaves me with a very suspicious nagging thought: that
President Mbeki's lack of firm action against Mugabe is for future
What am I saying? Simply that - God forbid -
should South Africans find themselves in the same position as the
unfortunate Zimbabweans (and we have millions living well below the poverty
line), then it might be expected that the rest of Africa and the members of
the free world, turn a blind eye. I would love to be wrong.
Owen D Simons Green Point
On 15 February 2005 Rob Milbank suffered a
serious brain haemorrhage on Forrester Estate, Zimbabwe, which left him
totally paralysed on his right side.
In 2004, Rob, his wife Amanda,
their young daughter Sabrina and Amanda's parents, Robin and Felicity von der
Heyde were forced off their farm, Vigila, after four years of intimidation
and harassment. Their neighbours on Forrester generously provided them with
somewhere to stay which enabled them to continue farming in a limited
Not only has the entire family lost their home and livelihood, but
Rob is now having to learn to speak and walk again. Although he has
startled doctors with his progress he faces up to eighteen months of
treatment and rehabilitation in South Africa. This is projected to cost in
the region of £45,000.
On 25 September 2005 we will be participating
in the 85 mile Oxford to Cambridge Bike Ride. Our aim is to raise as much
money as possible to help the Milbanks cover this enormous bill. We would
very much appreciate your generous support.
If you would like to make
an immediate contribution please either:
1. make your cheques payable to
Calascione re Milbank and send to Caroline Calascione, 267 Kings Road,
Kingston, Surrey KT2 5JJ or 2. pay your contribution directly into one of
the bank accounts which have been set up for this appeal: In the
UK: Bank Abbey Sort code 09-06-66 Account name Calascione re
Milbank Account number 41714397 In South Africa: Bank Nedbank,
Killarney,60 Riviera Road, Johannesburg SWIFT NEDSZAJJ Bank code 191
605 Account name Schofield-Millbank Account number
Please note, that if you use the SA account you will need to
let Kim Schofield know (on email@example.com) so that she can
track the payment and ensure it does not get lost.
Or if you would
like to sponsor our ride please let us know via email or post so that we can
contact you once we have completed it.
Thank you very much in
advance Best wishes Caroline Calascione (née Gambier) and Sarah
I am currently carrying out a research project on AGRICULTURAL
PROJECTS in Africa funded by Governments, Donors and NGO's over the past 20
years. Many of you know of projects which have been both successful or
unsuccessful in Africa during this period.
Please would you contact me
with details of
1 where the project was/is 2 whom it was funded
by 3 what the project was
and if possible a contact to enable me to
get more information on the project.
Harare residents who are having difficulty accessing
their building plans or other documents at Harare City Council are requested
to report this to Mr Masunda on 300469 or to CHRA attention legal officer on
011-612811, 011-612860 or 011-618595 giving your name, stand number and the
date and place where you tried to access which documents - or whatever
other difficulty you have had. CHRA's e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Masunda is
also interested in hearing from those who are being made to pay unreasonable
charges for "regularisation", borehole/well registration etc.
pass this information on to others - thank you.
letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of the
submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for